ANALYSIS OF ESTABLISHING OPERATIONS FOR SELF-INJURY MAINTAINED BY ESCAPE

Authors


Center for Behavior Analysis, P.O. Box 13438, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas 76203

Abstract

Self-injurious behavior (SIB) can be maintained through negative reinforcement when, in the context of training or task requirements, it produces escape as a consequence. Several studies have demonstrated methods for identifying and treating SIB maintained by negative reinforcement; however, few analyses of the establishing operations associated with demand situations have been conducted. The current series of studies illustrates a method for identifying some establishing operations for escape by systematically altering certain dimensions of the demand context while maintaining an escape contingency for SIB. Dimensions assessed in these studies included task novelty, duration of instructional sessions, and rate of task presentation. Data indicate that these variables can have establishing properties for behavior maintained by escape. Implications of the results are discussed, as are potential refinements and extensions of the assessment procedures.

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